Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 9, 2012

Welcome to the minority majority

“You don’t need a weatherman, to know which way the wind blows”

— Bob Dylan

“When you win, there is . . . a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view. And that’s what I intend to tell Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the president, now let’s work.”

Do you remember President Obama saying this in his Chicago acceptance speech? No? It does seem a little arrogant. That’s because George W. Bush said it in 2004 when he squeaked past John Kerry with 286 electoral votes

and immediately claimed a mandate.

Obama’s electoral tally was 303, and it looks like he’ll get Florida. Mandate? You bet, though far-right shrink Charles Krauthammer announced as soon as Obama won Ohio that the president didn’t have a mandate. It’s funny how that shoe-on-the-other-foot business

works.

It’s one of the immensely pleasurable aspects of Obama’s victory that far-right commentators and Fox News get to mull over the fact that their pet issues are dead in the water in a nation where the demographics are changing rapidly.

Karl Rove was apoplectic on Fox News as the network began to call Ohio, and thus the presidency, for Obama. He couldn’t fathom

that all the millions spent by his Crossroads Super PAC couldn’t put the nation in a time machine and send it back to the Gilded Age.

Ditto the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which will exhaust itself in the next four years tilting at imaginary socialist windmills with its army of think-tank shysters.

This was an important election for liberals. The Senate remained firmly in Democratic control, though the House stayed with Republicans. Maybe Obama can display a little of Bush’s chutzpah in dealing with Congress. He needs to work with Congress but not cave in. The fiscal cliff is the top priority (so everyone says), but Obama should make it clear that the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year are history. Like California did.

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